Professor Chris Paterson

Professor Chris Paterson


I teach and research in the areas of international journalism and international communications. My research concerns the production and flow of international news; the safety of journalists; media and journalism in Africa; and communication for development. I have written extensively on news agencies and on news production research methodology.

I am the Postgraduate Tutor for the School of Media and Communication and lead the MA International Communication of the School of Media and Communication.

I received my PhD in International Communication from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. My career has been divided between the UK and the US, where I have also worked in television production and broadcast journalism. I have taught at the Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester and in San Francisco, Atlanta, Northern Ireland, and Finland.

I Chair the Global Communication and Social Change division of the International Communication Association.

For the International Association of Media and Communications Research, I founded the Working Group for Media Production Analysis and have been an elected member of the International Council; in 2016 I chaired the IAMCR Environmental Impact Committee. I am on the executive board of the Leeds University Centre for African Studies and a member of the Priestley International Centre for ClimateCentre for Global Development and the Leeds Migration Research Network (LMRN). 

Postgraduate modules taught at Leeds University include:

  • Climate Communication
  • Journalism Theory and Research
  • Communication and International Affairs
  • Communication and Development
  • Journalism: Radical Approaches

Undergraduate modules have included;

  • Climate Communication
  • International Communication
  • Broadcast Journalism Ethics
  • Journalism, Politics, and Society


  • Postgratudate Tutor
  • Programme Leader, MA International Communication

Research interests

My current research focusses on the processes of mediation which enable continuing forms of imperialism in Africa, and on the ways communication research can be used to mitigate the effects of global crises such as climate change in developing regions. 

With co-editors, I produced Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century, the first book in over twenty years to examine the international media’s coverage of sub-Saharan Africa. It brought together leading researchers and prominent journalists to explore representation of the continent, and the production of that image, especially by international news media.

I was the principal investigator for the Global Challenges Research Fund project Development Assistance and independent journalism in Africa and Latin America: A cross-national and multidisciplinary research network, which examines the impact that foreign aid/development assistance has affected the ability of developing regions to foster a critical and independent media sector. I was also co-investigator for the British Academy Funded research project Contested Discourse of Africa Rising.

From January 2019, I have led the Global Challenges Research Fund funded project concerning Gender and Information in Climate Change Adaptation in rural Kenya and Ghana. In 2020 the project was awarded £200,000 of funding from the AHRC.

My book War Reporters Under Threat: the United States and Media Freedom (2014, Pluto Press) examined the nature of violence facing the media from the United States and its allies. I have continuing research interests in processes of imperialism and state surveillance, and in 2015 I created and hosted a plenary event for the IAMCR annual conference in Montreal which examined Surveillance and Resistance.

I have written the only major study of television news agencies and originated and co-edited two volumes of Making Online News: The Ethnography of New Media Production (New York: Peter Lang, 2008).  I have edited a special edition of African Journalism Studies concerning Journalism and Social Media in Africa; this special issue was produced as a book in 2015.

In 2013 I hosted an international conference leading to the 2016 publication of Advancing Media Production Research, which I co-edited. Other research includes an investigation of the safety of, and legal protections for, journalists covering war, local journalists working for global media, news agencies in online media, and the history of the wholesale television news industry, and investigation of emerging forms of international news flow.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD International Communication
  • MSc Broadcasting
  • BA Communications / Sociology

Professional memberships

  • International Association of Media and Communications Research
  • International Communications Association
  • European Communication Research and Education Association

Student education

I am Postgraduate Tutor for Media and Communication.

I lead the MA International Communication of the School of Media and Communication.


Research groups and institutes

  • Global Communication

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>